While the first Chevy Volt only recently rolled off the production line, I’m contemplating how it will stack up on the used car market in a few years.
Traits of good used car buys include the use of proven technology, parts and service availability, high sales volume which means there is a large market of that particular model to choose from. Great safety and quality ratings are important too. The Volt is too new to know.
It represents a paradigm shift in automotive engineering and design, which is impressive. I hope it succeeds. However, like the first microwaves, VCRs, cell phones and computers, they were sold to prove viability in the marketplace but had comparatively low value for buyers when compared with later models due to quick product evolution.
From that point of view the novel control strategies, lithium ion battery pack and a host of unproven technologies will make this a risky used car buy. It’s not likely destined for 200k trouble free miles, so resale value will probably be heavily discounted by the used car market in the form of rapid depreciation. Unless it becomes a collector item. But we’re not talking about collector items. This is strictly from a utilitarian standpoint.
Watch for resale value on this $41,000 car, likely affected by Federal and state funny money (tax credits, rebates, incentives, etc.) to vary a lot by region but generally trend downward fairly quickly.
We also need to remember that to get the plug-in benefit of electric power you need to have a place to charge at home (i.e. garage). With 110 volt household power it will take about 10 hours to do a full charge, so you would want to invest in rewiring for a 220 volt set up which would shorten charge time to about 4 hours. Keep that cost in mind should you consider purchasing one.